I am by no means a reality TV connoisseur.  In fact I’m rather adamantly opposed to reality TV for the most part.  If the programming involves people famous for being famous, judging, voting people off, challenges, or reunion shows, there’s a very good chance that I won’t be tuning in (“Jersey Shore” aside obviously).  As a novice writer I have appreciation for creativity and a well written narrative.   To throw that out and give those precious few timeslots in one of – if not the - most popular mediums in our culture to mindless drivel and fabricated drama, leaves us as a society more shallow and hollow than our ancestors.  Progress is only good if it leads to improvement.  I would argue that one of the worst trends in American society today is the increasing sentiment of the populace sharing a mantra along the lines of, “I don’t want to think.”  Reality TV panders to this demographic in allowing people to zone out and not be occupied with forming a coherent thought over the next thirty to sixty minutes.

It is with this momentum that I approach the recent Kim Kardashian nuptials… or lack there of.  The Kardashian household is pretty much everything I stand against in life.  Molly Lambert did an excellent job in her Grantland.com piece getting into the depths of how messed up this clan really is, and walks away with a finger squarely pointed at the matriarch Kris.  I agree with pretty much everything she says, so to hit the ground running, start with Molly’s work and come back for the next level of the argument.

So we’re all in agreement that Kris Kardashian is the devil now right?  Good.  What I’m more concerned with is the cultural significance of the event and where we go from here.  Per the always reliable Google-driven research I do for these posts, an estimated 10.5 million people tuned in to E! to watch the two part “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event.”  It currently wears the crown of the most watched event ever on the E! network.  Think about that.  10.5 million people thought it worth their time to tune in not once, but twice to watch these people who met roughly a year ago get married.  To their credit, they probably knew Kim better than Kris Humphries (the husband) did.  Maybe a good rule in life going forward is to not marry a man that spells his name the same way your mother spells hers. 

In full disclosure I have no idea what went into this wedding nor the programming around it.  I am not one of the 10.5 million who exchanged brain cells for TV pixels.  What I can tell you is that from the outside looking in is has all the feel of a pre-produced event, despite how adamantly E! denies it.  What is known is that Kim and Kris received a sizable chunk of money from the network (reportedly $10 million) to air their most precious of moments, and a solid C-list of celebrities found their way onto the IMDB page for the show.  When your wedding has an IMDB page something is fishy (unless you’re one of those delightful British royals).   

I saw a clip of the Kim and Kris in an argument on one of those tabloid news shows that’s on after work earlier this week, where Kim was yelling at Chris that this is the wedding she has planned since she was ten years old (apparently she didn’t put much effort into her first wedding when she was 19).  Kris replied something to the effect of, “oh, it’s your wedding alright.  All the way down to insert groom’s name here.”  Good for you Kris, that was probably the most salient point you’ve made in the past 18 months.  Call me crazy but this does not sound like a nuptial built on love and partnership, but rather something made for TV from the outset.

Behind the whole Kardashian empire is golden boy Ryan Seacrest.  He is the engine driving the Kardashian’s onto television in the first place.   Seacrest is in a unique position of attempting to wrestle the title of “king of all media” from Howard Stern while wearing Dick Clark’s All-American clothing.  With his apparent goal to be the face that America embraces from “American Idol” to “New Year’s Eve,” Seacrest cannot let the stink of a manufactured, made for TV wedding stick to him.  His whole image is of the clean cut American guy.  Making a mockery of the marital institution is not the correct way to grow that brand. 

For a country engaged in a social debate over gay marriage, where those opposed point to same sex relationships ruining the “sanctity” of the institution, how 10.5 million people can then proceed to watch it get openly mocked over the course of a two part special coupled with a seventy-two day honeymoon baffles me.  These people want their cake and the ability to eat it too.  We as a people cannot put the Kardashian brand on a pedestal with one hand and proceed to castigate them with the other.  The true punishment here is for America to put their foot down and agree that “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” is a lot of things, but none of them are good or redeeming.  We need to become a society of people who want to think and be challenged, or waves of Kardashians and Lohans and Spears will continue to wash up on our shores.

We need to become a nation that sees the Ryan Seacrest-Ken Doll clones for what they are.  While his pearly white smile invites you to let down your guard and welcome him into your living room, we need to realize that your best interests are the last of his concerns. 

I boil this down to the “a person is smart but people are stupid” idea.  Any individual reader when pressed would most likely agree with this point and more than likely play down their interest in reality TV as a whole, condeming the Kardashians and Seacrests of the world when asked.  But someone is out there watching this tripe and if it’s not you then it’s someone you know.  The world needs more “Mad Men” and “Modern Family’s”, shows with thought, and heart, and love behind them.  Watching un-talented people lead uninteresting lives hurts all of us in the long run.  When derriere models become role models it’s we as a people who suffer. 

I implore you to take up this fight with me and strive for a better standard of entertainment value.  Slap your friends who have anything set to record on their DVR from the E! network.  If you’re that friend, pickup a book and make a conscious effort to learn something during that hour you’ve previously committed to wasting… er… dedicating to this nonsensical drivel.  Be a better, more whole person.  Grow and improve, do not succumb to sloth and digress.  For we are Americans, and we have fallen far enough on the intellectual and creative property fronts in this world.  It’s time to re-take the initiative as a people and that starts by turning off the reality TV world and reconnecting with reality.